Compassion

2018-05-10
Matthew 25:32 NLT

In Matthew 25, Jesus gives us a description of what Judgment Day will be like: ‘All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me”‘ (vv. 32-36 NLT). Every time we show compassion to someone, every time we make an effort to help someone in need, we’re doing it to and for Jesus. It also means that every time we ignore or reject someone, we’re rejecting Jesus. When God calls us to step into a situation and help someone, we have a choice to make. We can follow His leading, or we can walk away. And sometimes it can be hard to make the right choice – maybe we’re too busy, too tired, or we just don’t want to get involved. We could make all kinds of excuses. But how would our attitude change if it was Jesus standing in front of us, asking for help? Having compassion alone won’t save us. We also have to accept the salvation that Jesus bought for us. When we do that, and allow our hearts to be aligned with His, compassion will be a natural consequence.

Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-11; Eph 4:7-10

Seek to glorify God (4)

2018-04-17
Philippians 1:29 NLT

Think of Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus Himself wrestled with the will of God. “Take this cup from me” (Mark 14:36 NIV). It was a reference to the cup of wrath. Jesus knew He’d have to drink it to the dregs. But before He did, He asked His Father if He could take it away, if there was any other way. But then He qualified His request with the ultimate prayer of surrender: “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42 NKJV). Our prayers tend to focus on external circumstances more than internal attitudes, because we’d rather have God change our circumstances than change us. It’s a lot easier that way. But we miss the point altogether. It’s the worst of circumstances that often brings out the best in us. And if it’s the bad things that bring out the good things, then maybe those bad things are good things in the grand scheme of things! It’s only when you’ve been tested that you have a testimony to share with others. Yes, you can be saved without suffering, but you cannot be spiritually matured or equipped for service without it. That doesn’t mean you seek it out, but it does mean you see it for what it is – an opportunity to glorify God. Paul, who suffered greatly, writes, “For you have been given…the privilege of suffering for him.” Where did Paul find such strength? “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 NKJV). So the word for you today is: Seek to glorify God in every circumstance of life.

Soul food: Acts 1:1-3:10; Mark 3:7-12; Ps 43; Prov 10:17-18

All glory to God (4)


Philippians 1:29 NLT

How do you live for God’s glory when you’re in severe pain? Think of Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus Himself wrestled with the will of God, saying ‘Take this cup from me’ (Mark 14:36 NIV). He was talking about the cup of God’s anger. Jesus knew He’d have to drink it to the dregs. But before He did, He asked His Father if He could take it away, if there was any other way to accomplish God’s plan. Then He ended with total surrender: ‘Not My will, but Yours, be done’ (Luke 22:42 NKJV). Our prayers tend to focus on external circumstances – what’s around us that’s bothering us – more than internal attitudes – who we’re becoming through the situation. We’d rather have God change our circumstances than change us. It’s a lot easier that way. But we miss the point altogether. It’s the worst of circumstances that often brings out the best in us. And if it’s the bad things that bring out the good things, then maybe those bad things are good things when you look back on them. It’s only when you’ve been tested that you have a story to share with others. Yes, you can be saved without suffering, but you can’t mature, or serve well, without it. That doesn’t mean you seek it out, but it does mean you see it for what it is – an opportunity to glorify God. Paul, who suffered a lot, writes, ‘For you have been given…the privilege of suffering for him.’ Where did Paul find that kind of strength? ‘I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18 NKJV). There’s loads of glory coming our way. But first, we need to do the work God’s given us, even in painful moments.

Acts 1:1-3:10; Mark 3:7-12; Ps 43; Prov 10:17-18

You’re invited (3)

2018-04-07
Luke 15:18 ESV

Once you grasp the fact that God has ‘chosen and appointed’ you to get some things done – a mission handpicked for you – lots of your unanswered questions will begin to make sense. Like why you see things differently from others, or feel a gut compulsion to move on while they’re happy to stay where they are. Paul said, ‘Long before we first heard of Christ…he…had designs on us for glorious living’ (Ephesians 1:11 MSG). God has certain things He wants to do through you. You’ve been designed for the job. If you think God chose you because you’re a great prayer-warrior, or read your Bible three hours a day, or have super-holy character, then the minute you let up or fail, the enemy will pounce and tell you you’re no longer accepted by God. Knowing where you stand with God helps you to say, ‘Even though I don’t have it all together, I can go to God at any time, because He chose me, not the other way around.’ That’s information that the enemy doesn’t want you to have, because it will change how you think, how you look at the world, and where your confidence level sits. Even though he failed, lost everything, and was was destitute, the Prodigal Son could still say, ‘I will set out and go to my father.’ Keep your confidence level high. God is still your Father even when you’ve messed up. You’re still invited.

Jer 31-32; Mark 1:29-34; Ps 72:12-20; Prov 9:7-9

Chosen and appointed by God (3)


Luke 15:18 ESV

Once you grasp the fact that God has “chosen and appointed” you to accomplish certain things, many of your unanswered questions will begin to make sense. Like why you see things differently from others, or feel compelled to move on while they’re happy to stay where they are. Paul said, “Long before we first heard of Christ…he…had designs on us for glorious living” (Ephesians 1:11 TM). You’ve been handpicked and designed for the job! Why? Because God has certain things He wants to do through you. It’s the reason you’ve made it this far. It’s why you keep bouncing back each time Satan tries to destroy you. Here are two reasons you need to grasp this truth: (1) If you think God chose you because you’re a great prayer-warrior, or read your Bible for hours on end, or you’re of sterling character, the minute you let up or fail the Devil will pounce and tell you you’re no longer accepted by God. (2) Knowing your status before God enables you to say, “Even though I struggle and stumble and sometimes don’t have it all together, I can go to God at any time because He chose me.” That’s powerful! It’s information the Devil doesn’t want you to have because it will change your thinking, your outlook, and your confidence level. Even though he crashed and burned and ended up smelling like the pigs he fed, the Prodigal Son could say, “I will arise and go to my father.” Rejoice, God is still your “Father” even though you’ve messed up. Repent, return, recommit – you’re “chosen and appointed.”

Soul food: Jer 31-32; Mark 1:29-34; Ps 72:12-20; Prov 9:7-9